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Juniper Trees

Junipers trees are among the toughest and most enduring trees on the planet. Their impressive reach spans across a large strip of the northern hemisphere, and extend from the Arctic to Central America and Africa.

Many junipers thrive in harsh conditions, growing in arid and extreme landscapes. Some varieties grow at dizzying elevations in the Himalayas. In fact, junipers constitute one of the highest tree lines in the world at an altitude of about 4.8 kilometers in southeastern Tibet.

Some juniper species grow where apparently nothing else can grow: a simple crack in a rock can be all a juniper needs. Trees are long-term fixed elements in their landscape and some of them live 700 years or more. The fantastically twisted juniper in the image is in the Kaibab National Forest in north-central Arizona.

Mature juniper trees can consume 10 to 30 gallons per day, which draws water from nearby springs and streams. Consequently, the juniper outcompetes native grasses and sagebrush, thus degrading habitat for the sage grouse, Brewer's sparrow, and other birds that use sagebrush for nesting and food.

Take care!

Carl Boniface

Vocabulary builder:

Spans (n) = distances, widths, extents, lengths, durations, periods, areas

Arid (adj) = dry, parched, baked, waterless, scorched

Dizzy (adj) = faint, giddy, wobbly, shaky, light headed, unsteady. “He had drunk too much and consequently started to feel dizzy.”

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